Senior housing facility to tower over downtown

Four-story building would be Eagle River's tallest


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CORRECTION: The original caption that ran with this photo contained incorrect information that stated Cook Inlet Housing Authority planned a trailer park housing development in downtown Eagle River. The is not the case. (Above) Cook Inlet Housing Authority development finance manager Tyler Robinson shared plans for a proposed four-story senior housing facility to be built on the vacant property behind the Eagle River Shopping Center during a meeting of the Eagle River community council in October.

STAR PHOTO BY MATT TUNSETH

Eagle River's skyline could be getting a facelift.

Cook Inlet Housing Authority development finance manager Tyler Robinson told the Eagle River community council last week that the authority is seeking financing for what would be the area's tallest building, a four-story senior housing facility to be located on a vacant lot behind the Eagle River Shopping Center in downtown Eagle River.

“We know we're going to make an impression, but we want that to be a positive one,” Robinson told the council.

The lot has already been upgraded with new sidewalks and paving, Robinson said.

“It's all new infrastructure,” he said.

The next step is to secure financing, which CIHA is hoping to secure through the Alaska Housing Finance Corp.

“If we're successful we are going to build this development,” he said.

Robinson was seeking the council's support of its plan. He said that if everything goes according to schedule, the authority could begin construction as early as May of 2012, with the 48-unit facility ready for its first tenants by the following summer.

He said the units would be a mix of affordable housing and market-rate apartments of 1-2 bedrooms each. He said they're designed for seniors who aren't in need of 24-hour care.

“This is not assisted living,” he said.

Council member Brian Fay asked Robinson if Chugiak-Eagle River residents would have a priority over other applicants from Anchorage or elsewhere wanting to move into the facility.

Robinson said there would not – but that he expects many of the applicants to naturally come from the area.

“Our hope is we can market to the residents of Eagle River,” he said.

However, Robinson said the properties do fill up fast and are on a first-come, first-serve basis.

When asked if residents would have to camp out on the housing authority's doorstep to ensure a spot in the facility, Robinson said he's not expecting the building to fill up quite that quickly.

“Our experience is never that these things fill up in one day,” he said.

Robinson said he plans to keep area residents who might be interested in applying for a spot in the building in the loop.

“What I'm hearing is, 'Make sure the folks of Eagle River know about this,'” Robinson said. “We have every intention of doing that.”

Robinson also addressed concerns about adding to traffic at the notorious Business Boulevard-Old Glenn intersection, saying the facility's parking lot would be accessed off of Coronado Street rather than empty toward an area that council president Mike Foster described as a “disappointing” intersection.

After receiving further assurances from Robinson that he would return to the council to provide updates on the project's status, the council voted 4-0 to draft a letter in support of the project.

 

Contact Matt Tunseth at 694-2727 or matt.tunseth@alaskastar.com

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